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​BHP Billiton Energy Coal South Africa Limited (BECSA) today announced that it has entered into an empowerment transaction with a black-owned consortium led by Pembani Group (Pty) Limited. The consortium, which will effectively hold an eight per cent equity interest in BECSA, also includes a Broad-Based Empowerment grouping.

Pembani, formerly Worldwide African Investment Holdings (Pty) Limited and founded in 1994, is a diversified energy investment company with interests in the mining and petroleum industry and is chaired by well known business executive Phuthuma Nhleko, the former Group Chief Executive of MTN.

The shareholders of BECSA have also approved the implementation of an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) in which participating employees will hold a beneficial interest of two per cent equity in BECSA, further enhancing BECSA’s Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) credentials.

Completion of the BEE Transaction and the introduction of the ESOP are both conditional on BECSA receiving consent for those transactions from Eskom Holdings (in addition to certain other minor technical conditions precedent).

Furthermore, the company confirms that it has agreed to sell additional resources to Kuyasa Mining in order to facilitate a longer mine life of its operation near the town of Delmas. The divestment of Delmas Colliery more than ten years ago to create Kuyasa Mining was BECSA’s first black economic empowerment transaction. This latest deal will extend the life of Kuyasa and create more value for the business and its employees.

BECSA has been on the transformation journey for more than a decade and concluded numerous empowerment transactions through direct sales of assets during this period. In addition to Kuyasa Mining, BECSA has facilitated the establishment and growth of several empowerment companies including Eyesizwe Coal (which became Exxaro) and Optimum Coal Holdings. In the process BECSA also facilitated access to export capacity for BEE companies at the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) of around 10 million tonnes per annum. This represents more than one third of BECSA’s original RBCT capacity.

Through its previous direct sales of assets and the new empowerment transactions announced today, BECSA is now in a position of more than meeting the transformation requirements of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and Mining Charter and subsequently has received conversion of all its old order mining rights. BECSA acknowledges the constructive and collaborative way in which the Department of Mineral Resources facilitated the process of finalising this empowerment transaction.

BHP Billiton President of Energy Coal, Jimmy Wilson, said: “BECSA’s unwavering commitment to the objectives of the Mining Charter and the South African economy will continue to drive us to play an active role in the transformation of mining and economic empowerment of our people”.

BECSA is the second largest exporter of thermal coal in South Africa. The company remains committed to South Africa’s transformation goals and economy, as well as the socio-economic development of its host communities.

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